This DVD is an exclusive look at the making of Jean-Jacques Goldman’s 2001 studio album, ‘Chansons pour les pieds’ (or, loosely translated, “dancing music” – the literal one being “music for the feet”). It was included in the 2002 tour programme and has also been released as promotional material.
I always found ‘Chansons pour les pieds’ excellent but over-produced, leaving me with mixed feelings. While many of the individual songs are breath-taking, as a whole it feels like too much, like someone hit the “epic” button and forgot to switch it off. There were also a couple of songs I never warmed up to.
Still, I thought it was, overall, a terrific album. The lyrics are amazing and the multitude of musical layers are feasts for the senses. Sadly, this may be JJG’s last album: so far, this is his most recent album, and he still has no intention of recording another one. The reasons escape me, not having my finger on the French pop media’s pulse.
This particular behind the scenes doc was everything I wanted it to be, despite its relative brevity. It gave us a look at the making of half of the album’s songs, especially the more intricate ones, and none other than JJG himself offers a few insights as to the inspirations for them or their creative history.
Goldman is back in form, much more like I always painted him in my mind – as opposed to the slightly dour and somber man we saw in the ‘Fredericks Goldman Jones: Tours et détours’ DVD. Here he is often serious, but also playful, light-hearted, sympathetic and candid. Watching him see his creations unfold with the help of countless dozens of other musicians is quite the sight – one can feel just how pleased he is with the results.
And there’s reason to be. Listening to the humongous choir fill “Ensemble” in canon is a spectacle to behold. I was pretty much moved to tears, not only because of how beautiful it was, but because of the lyrical content and the reactions to the songs from all parties. Similarly, ‘Je voudrais vous revoir’, with its weepy Scottish backdrop was a stunner, and ‘Tournent les violons’ can’t fail to impress with its full orchestra.
This video could have been more in-depth, mostly showing the musicians and producers at work and not covering the whole album. However, for anyone wanting to see how an album is made at home instead of the studio, and then taken to another level in collaboration with tons of other people, this is a delightful example. For a Goldman fan, though, this a real treat. And an extremely rare one at that.